As some of you know, before living in New York, I lived in San Francisco. This is the city where I got into eating out, learned about brunch, gained 72 pounds (not really but it sure felt like it) and it was possibly my favorite place I’ve ever lived. After moving off my college campus, I lived in the Castro/Duboce Park area and the Mission District, so most of these are around there, in my opinion the most fun areas and usually the sunniest. I was pretty broke during most of my time here, but I definitely splurged on bottomless mimosas and delivery food.
I went to SF last weekend for work and stayed through the weekend trying to pack in every one of my favorite meals (andddd see my friends I guess.) I’m still bloated but already miss it. Below was my go-to list of San Francisco food I couldn’t not snack on while in the Bay. Of course- being able to expense some of it didn’t hurt, and you guys know a work trip is my favorite excuse to squeeze in some excessive meals, but these are all reasonably priced. I got you.
Palm Springs has been a favorite of mine ever since I went as a kid. I had been with my family then and for Coachella, not exactly the vibe I was going for this weekend. During MLK weekend, Drew and I had Monday off, so we did the quick (2 hour) drive to Palm Springs from LA to relax and thrive.
Using my absolute favorite app, Hotel Tonite, I scored us a room at the Ingleside Inn. I ALMOST chose the Ace or Sagauro, which are both really awesome and beautiful, but I decided to go for something a little more old school. The fact that Frank Sinatra had one of his many weddings here sealed the deal, and the on site bougie glamorous restaurant was the perfect setting for Drew to display his new ‘country club dad’ chic style.
BTW- Palm Springs is a California desert city that was the go-to weekend getaway to the stars back in the day. It has amazing mid-century architecture, like even the Chase Bank and KFC were atomic modern designs. Also, it’s a gay haven and amazing for vintage shopping and thrifting.
Hotel Tonite is a discount hotel app for the night of, or up to a week in advance (a new feature.) Something that I think makes them different than Expedia or any other site, is the curation of the hotels and the amazing interface. None of the hotels are bad, they are categorized well, have reviews, and nice images. Most of all- if you’re referred, you get $25 off. I’m trying to stack up the codes so I can get an almost free room. But this Palm Springs hotel was only $100 after the $25 off which was honestly more than worth it. (Use my code: LABASCAL for $25 off and then tell me about your adventure!)
Ok done with the shameless promo, here is what to eat, where to get a cheap martini, furniture shopping, and more in Palm Springs.
Arguably the biggest flex I have ever done was surprising Drew for his 25th birthday with a plane ticket to a mysterious secret location. His birthday is in April and the trip wasn’t scheduled until Thanksgiving / November, which gave me a lot of time to make it as perfect as possible. Pro tip: plan a vacation around a holiday so you can combine your days off work with your vacation days to take as few official days off as possible. This made my 5 night long trip only require 3 days off. If you’ve noticed, I try to travel every change I get, so little ways to cheat the system make it all possible.
I decided on Cartagena while I was up late on night in my hostel in Istanbul, where I had traveled alone. I had taken Drew’s suggestion of somewhere warm and Spanish speaking and done some sort of random research that led me to the Caribbean seafront ancient city of Cartagena. From there, I was on a project that was almost as fun as the trip- planning a secret trip that would be our longest and furthest trip we’ve taken together.
Cartagena was amazing because it felt untouched by American tourism. No one immediately spoke to us in English, there were few, if any, cheesy chain restaurants, there was no excessive tourist activities like banana boats or those water hoverboards, it just felt like a classic beautiful place for people to relax and enjoy the culture. I know I wouldn’t have found that off some Groupon to Puerto Rico which would have been easier and probably cheaper. This was definitely memorable- and comes highly recommended by me.